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Pacific Rim This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

With the release of “Pacific Rim,” both the kaiju and mecha genres officially make it to the U.S. in a well-wrapped two-hour package. Director Guillermo del Toro has ­admitted to being a fan of the monster genre, and “Pacific Rim” proves that he not only knows his monsters but can translate the kaiju genre into something accessible to American audiences.

“Pacific Rim” takes place in the not-too-distant future, in which giant monsters (the ­Kaijus) are emerging from the ocean through an interdimensional portal, causing destruction in coastal cities across the globe. The only way to combat these monsters is with giant robots, known as Jaegers, that are piloted by two or more people through “drifting” – a neural handshake in which the participants are linked telepathically to each other and the Jaeger. The most “drift compatible” people are relatives, or people who have shared similar life experiences.

Unfortunately, the Kaijus are starting to evolve, and the Jaeger program is losing its funding. Raleigh Becket (portrayed by a plausible but ultimately forgettable Charlie Hunnam), a washed-up Jaeger pilot traumatized by the death of his brother and former co-pilot, is called back into service by his former commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba). Pentecost reluctantly chooses his adopted daughter, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), as a new partner for Becket. She is a trainee who, like Becket, is also mourning the loss of her family due to a Kaiju attack. The relationship that forms between Becket and Mori is one of the highlights of the film. It's not quite a romance, but too deep of a bond to pass off as mere friendship.

The movie manages to find just the right balance between action and character development. In fact, the film's effects specialists did an excellent job making the Kaijus into true creatures of fear, undoubtedly with help from del Toro. The battles between the Jaegers
and the Kaijus are so intense that there were times when I genuinely began to fear that the characters wouldn't survive to the closing credits.

In addition, a subplot involving Kaiju researcher Newt and his officious partner Hermann (portrayed brilliantly by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, respectively) adds much-needed humor amidst all the bone-crunching and city-smashing.

The film's only real flaw is the lack of time it spends exploring the drifting concept. The mind-merging scenes pass by so fast that I felt more could be gained by delving into them. Despite this, “Pacific Rim” is the most thrilling and intelligent action film I've seen this summer.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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